Thrilling is the name of the game this week as sleuths, ex-assassins and amateur investigators go about their business
THE QUIET SIDE OF PASSION BY ALEXANDER MCCALL SMITH (LITTLE, BROWN) R299*
Isabel Dalhousie is back with another mildly perilous mystery to solve in her beloved Edinburgh.
This time round she’s faced with a paternity dilemma. Isabel has befriended a somewhat pushy mother at the playschool her son attends and discovers the woman is demanding child support from a man who’s not her son’s father.
When Isabel and her husband Jamie see the woman having dinner with a decidedly dodgy man she decides to investigate and her enquiries soon land her in danger.
Meanwhile, she’s employed an assistant to help her on the journal she edits and an au pair, both of whose love-life dilemmas create more problems. Added to this, her niece Cat has become involved with a macho South African whom Isabel can’t decide if she likes.
Through all these situations Isabel applies her idle philosophical musings which are thoughtprovoking and very funny. This is the 12th Dalhousie novel and once again Alexander McCall Smith has come up with a winner. – SANDY COOK
THE BOY IN THE HEADLIGHTS BY SAMUEL BJORK (PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE) R249*
When the body of a ballerina is found in a mountain lake, Norway’s top detectives are called in. Police investigators Holger Munch and Mia Krüger have a history of solving the most complex crimes in Oslo, and in the third book of the crime series they must catch a serial killer before he strikes again.
It took a while to get stuck into this novel as it’s very characterdriven, with rather unusual names. The translation also made the book read in clipped tones but once I got over that I was disappointed by the predictable climax, which was reached too soon after a very long build-up.
Not the most gripping or intense crime thriller, but okay to pick up if you want to pass time. – LAVERN DE VRIES
THE WEDDING GUEST BY JONATHAN KELLERMAN (BALLANTINE) R270*
The bestselling author is back with another Alex Delaware thriller – and once again the gifted psychologist uses his skills to help his best friend, Detective Milo Sturgis, solve a puzzling crime.
The action kicks off at a wedding where a bridesmaid discovers a dead woman inside a bathroom.
As always, Jonathan Kellerman takes the reader on a long and gripping journey with many twists and turns before winding things up at the end. His knack for weaving in bits of humour – Milo’s dry wisecracks just get better and better – and Alex’s personal life with his sexy girlfriend, Robin, make for lighter moments.
When you reach the 34th book in a series you’re almost expecting the writing to be a bit formulaic, but this hasn’t happened – which is testament to Kellerman’s undisputed talent. – NICI DE WET
OUT OF THE DARK BY GREGG HURWITZ (PENGUIN) R319*
Evan Smoak was taken from an orphanage at 12 and trained to be a super assassin as part of the Orphan Program. After leaving the programme he reinvented himself as the Nowhere Man, the person desperate people can turn to. But at the same time he’s had to keep a low profile because since the programme was discontinued, someone at the very highest level of government has been trying to eliminate all traces of it by killing the remaining orphans. Now Evan has made it his goal to kill that person – the president of the US. This is the fourth novel in the Orphan X series, and it’s action all the way. Evan is smart and dangerous – he kills bad guys without hesitation – but he has his principles. He reminds me of the TV character Dexter. I can’t wait for the next Orphan X. – ANDRÉ J BRINK